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HURD v. COE

December 10, 1936

HURD
v.
COE, Commissioner of Patents



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LUHRING

This is a proceeding by bill in equity under 35 U.S.C.A. § 63 (§ 4915, R.S.) wherein the plaintiff seeks an adjudication that he is entitled to receive a patent for his invention as specified in his claims 10 to 16, inclusive.

The invention relates to a locking mechanism adapted particularly for use in locking a spare wheel on an automobile on a suitable support.

 In his specification, page 1, the plaintiff states the object of his invention as follows:

 "It is an object of the invention to provide a locking mechanism whereby a vehicle wheel may be so protected that the means of securing the wheel to its support will be enclosed and the enclosing structure locked against being opened.

 "Another object of this invention is the provision of a locking mechanism of this class which will be simple in structure, economical of manufacture, durable, highly efficient in use, light and easily and quickly mounted in position.

 "Another object of the invention is the provision of a locking mechanism of this class which may be easily and quickly operated and which will not mar the appearance of a vehicle with which used."

 Where the spare wheel and tire of an automobile are attached at the back of the automobile, the attachment mechanism is by bolts and nuts. The nuts appear in the interior of the hub of the wheel so that when the hub cap is placed in position these nuts are obscured from view. If the hub cap is locked in position, an unauthorized person cannot remove the nuts and thereafter remove the wheel.

 In the device shown in the plaintiff's application, the hub cap contains the locking mechanism. It is provided with two outwardly extending tongues, marked 24 in Fig. 2 of the drawing, which fit inside of an inwardly extending flange at the outer portion of the wheel hub, and also with a locking mechanism which consists of a sliding bolt held in place by guides, and which can be extended or retracted by turning a cylinder after that cylinder is unlocked by a key.

 The plaintiff filed his application for patent December 14, 1931, and it was given Serial No. 580,787.

 Claims 10 and 11 may be regarded as typical, and are as follows:

 "10. In combination a wheel hub having an opening, a hub cap having a flange for extending through said opening, a radially shiftable lock member supported on said cap and said cap flange having a guide passageway for the end of said locking member, an actuating member adapted upon rotational movement to cause radial shift of said locking member to locking or unlocking position, the outer end of said locking member when in locking position being projected behind the hub wall surrounding the hub opening whereby to lock the cap to the hub, a housing supported by said cap, a rotatable member journaled in said housing and connected with said locking bar actuating member, and means for locking said rotational member against rotation after actuation thereby of said actuating member to shift said locking member into locking position.

 "11. In combination, an open faced wheel hub terminating at its outer end in a radially inwardly projecting flange; a hub cap mountable on said hub in engagement with the outer face of said flange for closing said open face; securing means carried by said cap engageable behind said flange, upon movement to operative position, for securing said cap on said hub; and means for moving said securing means to operative and inoperative position."

 The claims were finally rejected by the Commissioner of Patents, acting through the Examiner in charge of the application, on May 12, 1933, and this rejection was affirmed by the Board of Appeals November 28, 1933. The plaintiff did not appeal from the decision of the Board of Appeals to the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. The bill was filed in this court May 23, 1934. The ground of rejection was that the claims were unpatentable over the prior art as shown by the patents to Toelle, 1,339,075, May 4, 1920, and Cochran, 1,755,427, April 22, 1930. At the hearing the ...


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